Crescent Heights’ October 17th Massage Clinic Discussion


by Kirsty Blair, CHCA Board of Directors

On October 17th, a number of Crescent Heights residents joined 4 panelists, Jody from Shift, Emma from Sagesse, Mike from the Massage Therapists Association of Alberta (MTAA), and Kelsi from The Walk YYC, to discuss concerns related to the high concentration of massage clinics and body rub businesses in Crescent Heights. We had participation from a local massage clinic called Three Peaks and they represented concerns, along with other participants, that people may not feel comfortable accessing massage services in our community because of confusion related to which business offered therapeutic massage and which offered services like sex work.

Discussion participants came with diverse perspectives and concerns and although no consensus on what to do, some of the potential actions to consider were:

  1. Support the campaign to create a provincial standard for massage therapists so that RMT means therapeutic massage. This could be one way to address the confusion and potentially uncomfortable and even dangerous assumptions about what services can be accessed where without forcing sex workers to out themselves and their place of work.
  2. Ask for credentials. If you are looking for a massage you have the right to ask the therapist what school they studied with, how many hours they studied, and which massage association they are registered with. Participants from Three Peaks and our panelist from the MTAA explained that this is normal practice and most massage therapists are happy to share their credentials. In order to obtain a massage licence, therapists must be registered and in good standing with one of the following associations:
    • Remedial Massage Therapists Association (RMTA)
    • Massage Therapist Association of Alberta (MTAA)
    • Alberta Association of Therapeutic Masseurs (AATM)
    • Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC)
    • Certified Registered Massage Therapist Association (CRMTA)
  3. Advocate for respect and safety for sex workers.
    • Changes to regulations around massage and body rub licensing could have a negative impact on the safety and livelihoods of sex workers. Anyone who wishes to learn more or join in advocacy to increase safety and respect for sex workers can contact Jody Tomm with the Shift Project: [email protected]
  4. Report harm and threats. If you see something anywhere in the community that you think is dangerous or posing a threat to the safety of anyone in our community call Calgary Police Services 911 or 403-266-1234 (non- emergency line). In addition, you are welcome to contact our community’s resource officer Constable James Dore [email protected]. Please note that most sex work happening in Calgary is NOT human trafficking however if you do suspect human trafficking is happening do not hesitate to call the police.
  5. Reach out to the City’s Compliance Services. If you have questions about how a business’s licence or you think a business is operating outside their licence and/or operating in a way that is disruptive to neighbors you can call 311 and ask to connect with Compliance Services or directly email [email protected]
  6. Join the movement to create a Centre Street Business Improvement Area (BIA). Some of the concerns raised were more focused on what people would prefer to our neighborhood. The BIA group are coming together to make Centre Street a place where businesses can thrive, and this initiative is intended to bring a vibrant and diverse business community to our neighborhood. Contact Jennifer Black at [email protected]

If you would like to receive more detailed notes of the discussion and related bylaws, please contact Kirsty Blair at [email protected].